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Ambidexterity and absorptive capacity in boundary-spanning managers: role of paradox mindset and learning goal orientation

Saurav Snehvrat (Department of Strategic Management, XLRI - Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, India)
Sanjay Chaudhary (Department of Strategic Management, Jindal Global Business School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India)
Siddharth Gaurav Majhi (IT and Computational Systems Area, Indian Institute of Management Amritsar, Amritsar, India)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 27 September 2022

Issue publication date: 16 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Boundary-spanning managers need to recognize, learn and implement external knowledge while balancing the conflicts emerging from new and existing knowledge. The authors' study explores how a paradox mindset (PM) and a learning focus [learning goal orientation (LGO)] promote two managerial capabilities: absorptive capacity (ACAP) and ambidexterity. The authors' study explores the inter-relationship between the mindsets and the capabilities required for innovative work behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use survey data from 113 technology/product managers employed in boundary-spanning roles in a large Indian automotive equipment manufacturing firm. Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) analysis and bootstrapping (using PROCESS MACRO) are used to test for direct and mediation effects respectively.

Findings

Both PM and LGO are found to affect individual ambidexterity (IA) via the mediation of individual absorptive capacity (IACAP). While IACAP partially mediates the relationship between PM and IA, there is full mediation in the case of LGO.

Research limitations/implications

The authors focus on a sample of managers from a single, large Indian automotive firm. Although single case studies can help provide novel conceptual insights and to test theoretical relationships, future research needs to confirm the authors' findings in different types of firms.

Practical implications

This study shows how a learning orientation and the ability to be energized from conflicts help boundary-spanning managers produce innovative outcomes.

Originality/value

The authors reveal fresh insights on how both ACAP and ambidexterity share the focus on learning and paradox management. The authors explicate how LGO and PM uniquely impact the critical capabilities of IACAP and IA for boundary-spanning managers.

Keywords

Citation

Snehvrat, S., Chaudhary, S. and Majhi, S.G. (2022), "Ambidexterity and absorptive capacity in boundary-spanning managers: role of paradox mindset and learning goal orientation", Management Decision, Vol. 60 No. 12, pp. 3209-3231. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-03-2021-0328

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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